Appendix B

Historiography, Sources, Study Area, and Naming Patterns



This study will attempt to add some understanding of women's experiences to two broad areas of historiography: the literature on early European settlement in Newfoundland and Canada, and the history of the Irish diaspora.

Early European Settlement in Newfoundland and Canada

Almost every family history here begins with "Two brothers came out from Ireland or England…"
—HE, resident of Ferryland, 20 July 19991

This insight came from one of my oral informants as she tried to warn of the difficulties in mining the oral tradition for information about women's contribution to early community formation on the southern Avalon. She had certainly arrived at the crux of a methodological problem, for she was not only articulating the conventional opening for, but also identifying the main protagonists in most family histories in the Irish or English Newfoundland tradition. There are, of course, some departures from the formula: in one variation, an older brother remains in the home country while the younger leaves for Newfoundland; in another, a father and his sons cross the Atlantic to seek their fortune in the fishery. But in plot and focus, the stories are similar. The family narratives tell how those men carved a living out of relentless sea and barren soil, and how they bred large families in a mysterious process that, with its seeming absence of women, must surely have equaled the miracle of the Virgin Birth.2 The sagas continue to follow the male line: sons and grandsons are named, their lives chronicled, while daughters remain peripheral—sometimes numbered, rarely named, often ignored altogether.

While my informant was discussing the oral tradition, her comments could also have applied well to the traditional historiography on Newfoundland settlement, in which this male-centered focus resounds. Granted, this preoccupation was rooted in the nature of the main industry of Newfoundland—the cod fishery—which, until the second half of the eighteenth century, was largely migratory in aspect and carried out primarily by men, with a smattering of planters' wives and female servants. Logically linking the course of settlement with the pursuit of the fishery and the vicissitudes of its migratory and sedentary branches, earlier writings either overlooked or vastly underplayed the one ingredient essential for the stabilization of the local population: the presence of women.

thumb Traditional historiographical offerings explained settlement as a process that occurred within the context of conflict between inhabitant fishermen and avaricious merchants from the West of England, who controlled the migratory trade and effectively pressured successive governments to prohibit settlement, or at least to discourage it actively, in order to block the development of a competitive resident fishery. Hence, these historians argued, settlement in Newfoundland followed an erratic course, with resident fishermen relegated to marginal areas, their premises hidden in tiny coves or hanging precipitously off cliff faces—out of the way of the privileged migratory fishermen and out of the sight of visiting fishing admirals and naval authorities.3


This theory of "retarded settlement" was roundly challenged by later writers, who argued that, although the Western Adventurers had briefly opposed settlement, many of them soon came to realize that the migratory and sedentary branches of the fishery could be complementary, and evolved into suppliers and marketers for the inhabitant fishery while maintaining their migratory interests into the eighteenth century. The home government, spurred by its desire to preserve a "nursery for seamen" through the traditional migratory ship fishery, did attempt to restrict settlement by delaying the development of governance and property ownership in Newfoundland. Ironically, however, they were forced to establish increasingly sophisticated agencies to enforce the restrictive laws they were passing and to maintain law and order between residents and visiting fishermen (Web Link). The scattered nature of fishing communities therefore reflected not a fear of discovery by officials or harassment by migratory fishermen, but rather the suitability of the sites for exploiting the inshore cod resource: proximity to fishing grounds, for example, access to water and wood, and availability of other resources, such as seals and salmon. And large-scale, year-round settlement was made possible by the development of a spring seal fishery—a complementary industry to the cod fishery in that it employed fishermen, boats, and artisans in the off-season.4

Scholars also began to uncover information on the substantial numbers of Irish servants who came out to the Newfoundland fishery, particularly from the mid-eighteenth century onwards, and their imprint on the demographic and cultural patterns of early Newfoundland communities.5 John Mannion, in particular, stressed the agency of Irish immigrants to Newfoundland, many of them from artisan or farming backgrounds who exercised choice in pursuing opportunity in the Newfoundland fishery in the face of declining (but not dire) prospects in the home country.

Yet as the historiographical debates on settlement in Newfoundland evolved, the movements of men were carefully traced and analyzed while the activities of women remained out of focus. Even though the Newfoundland fishery had been primarily (although not exclusively) a male enterprise up to the middle of the eighteenth century, in Newfoundland, as elsewhere, populations and communities did not stabilize until women were present in increasing numbers. But while the historical literature spoke of the rising supremacy of the resident fishery and the increasing stability of the population in the latter eighteenth century, women's experiences were absent, their voices muted. Occasional references appeared to fishermen's marrying "local women" (a term that generally referred to women of English or Irish, not aboriginal, descent)–as if their presence needed no further explanation, as if these women had somehow sprung from the ground. Like Topsy, a character of nineteenth-century American fiction, they had apparently just "grow'd."6 Treating them as merely a factor in a demographic equation, the literature said little or nothing of their motives for emigrating, their lived experiences, or their role in early community formation.

Outside the disciplines of history and historical geography, feminist scholars began to question women's absence from accounts of early fishing communities.7 Their writings offered insights on women's contributions to family fisheries of the latter nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but they were observing phenomena that were rooted in an earlier period and begged several questions: How did the sexual division of labor evolve in early Newfoundland fishing villages? What were the value of women's work and the extent of women's influence in family and community in the period of initial settlement? Did gender relations transfer relatively intact from the Old World to the New, or did immigration and settlement experiences create a new playing field for the negotiation of gender?

By the late 1980s, some necessary (if somewhat conservative) adjustments were being made to the historiography of Newfoundland in terms of women's participation in the settlement process. Historical geographer W. Gordon Handcock introduced a gender component to his extensive study of English migration and settlement patterns in northeast Newfoundland, articulating the link between the presence of women and population growth by using the numbers of female winter inhabitants in Newfoundland as an index of permanence.8 He also noted that matrilineal bridges played a role in family perpetuation before the 1800s, but underplayed their importance in terms of settlement continuity. Working from the assumption that "a consolidated, stable population tends to have a strong patrilineal-patrilocal character,"9 he fell back on a male-centered demographic technique of surname sieving to measure the stability of settlement, noting some matrilineal extensions, but more as interesting diversions than as evidence of earlier, women-centered continuities.


Other scholars began to add sections on women's work and status to their examinations of early Newfoundland communities. In his interdisciplinary study of the English colonization effort at Ferryland in the seventeenth century, Peter Pope found that women were important contributors to planter households in terms of housewifery, animal husbandry, and their involvement in the fishery, noting that some widows became household heads or even prominent planters in their own right—a phenomenon that he found to be more anomalous than was actually the case. In general, he concluded that these women "were powerful relative to their sisters elsewhere, in a century in which women were powerful, relative to their great-granddaughters"—apparently assuming that patriarchy would re-root itself as a matter of course on the island and a slide in women's status would ensue as permanent settlement increased in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.10

In his examination of merchant-settler relations in Conception Bay, Sean Cadigan also provided valuable insight into women's vital role in fishing households as the fishery moved from waged labor to family production in the early nineteenth century.11 However, he assumed an unproblematic transplanting of patriarchy from the Old World to the New, untempered by immigration and early settlement experiences.12 Women's work rhythms bent to the dictates of male-centered agendas and male decision-making, he argued, and women's status was secondary within a patriarchal family structure that was reinforced by the formal legal system and male "discipline… by the fist."13 In these three writings, there was an assumption of an inexorable "evolution" towards a patrilineal, patriarchal society in which women's status and contributions were seen as secondary, diversionary, or anomalous.

In the 1990s, important contributions in the field of legal history delved into the impact of both formal and customary legal practices on women's lives in Newfoundland.14 Still, there are significant gaps in our understanding of how women's experiences, especially in early fishing communities, played out on the ground. And there is still a reluctance in the literature on early settlement to perceive gender in terms of a dynamic, ongoing process that did not follow a straight and uncontested "evolutionary" course towards patriarchy.15 But was the "march of patriarchy" as unproblematic in the Newfoundland context as much of the historiography has presupposed?

The paucity of scholarship on women in early Newfoundland communities corresponds with a traditional obscuring of the female experience in the Anglophone literature16 on early European immigration to the rest of the territory that today forms Canada.17 Since the late 1980s, women's historians have been working towards a more balanced interpretation of immigration history that incorporates more gender-inclusive categories of analysis. Writers such as Franca Iacovetta, Varpu Lindstrom, Ruth Frager, Agnes Calliste, and Francis Swyripa have examined ethnic women and cultural maintenance and/or adaptation, domestic service, the industrial workforce, labor politics, and radical activism—studies that have added significantly to our understanding of the interrelated processes of gender, race, and class.18 But there is a late-nineteenth- and/or twentieth-century concentration in this literature and a focus on ethnic minorities and urban experiences. The history of women in earlier migrations from the British Isles to what is today Canada has, until recently, remained largely unexplored terrain; in much of the literature, these women have remained part of an amorphous entity, white settler society, with little recognition of the gendered dynamics of their experiences or the ways in which dimensions of race, ethnicity, and class also affected their lives.19

The Anglophone literature on colonial women in Canada has lagged behind its American counterpart.20 Still, some promising contributions have been made to our understanding of women's lives in the pre-confederation period: for example, Beth Light and Alison Prentice's thematic collection of primary documents on women in British North America up to 1867;21 Constance Backhouse's examination of women's encounters with the justice system in the nineteenth century;22 Cecilia Morgan's discussion of the complex interplay between understandings of gender and public discourses in Upper Canada;23 Elizabeth Errington's study of the essential nature of women's work in preserving Upper Canadian households;24 Jennifer Henderson's examination of the writings of nineteenth-century Anglo-Protestant women within the context of moral regulation and the racial discourse of white settler culture;25 and Margaret Conrad's mining of the diaries of Maritime women, who made life choices on the basis of gendered expectations as daughters, wives, and mothers.26


Many of these writings, however, demonstrate a pervasive difficulty in women's history—the problem of uncovering the lives of women from marginalized groups. Evidence from the white colonial elite—statutes, newspapers, diaries, correspondence, prescriptive writings—dominates the historical record for the period of early settlement. We can see how hegemonic feminine ideals were constructed and have some insight into their impact on elite women, but we have much more limited access to the meanings they created for women of aboriginal societies, ethnic minorities, and working-class or plebeian cultures. We can read interpretations of the lives of women on the periphery, but they have been mediated by middle-class editors, clergymen, and officials, and, occasionally, gentry women.

But although the presence of plebeian women in white settler society is quite muted in the written records, some recent historians have managed to find traces of their lives. The third volume of the Planter Studies Series published by Acadiensis contains some insightful contributions on women in Nova Scotian communities settled by New England planters in the latter part of the eighteenth century, most particularly in the areas of testamentary practices, exchange economies, and domestic violence.27 Another Maritime collection, Separate Spheres, provides a discussion of women's participation in the Escheat Movement in Prince Edward Island in the 1830s and in petitioning in New Brunswick in the 1840s and 1850s.28 A promising body of work on encounters between popular-class women and the formal legal system in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Montreal has been developing since the 1990s.29 Women's experiences during the push west in the late nineteenth century have also received some attention from recent writers such as Adele Perry and Sarah Brooks Sundberg.30 However, there is still no comprehensive body of Anglophone literature on colonial women in Canada, and plebeian women in particular are barely visible. This study is merely one small drop in a slowly filling well.

The Irish Diaspora in North America

The literature on Irish migrations to North America has traditionally been preoccupied with famine and post-famine migrations, resonating with motifs of disruption and alienation.31 This concentration has had a profound impact on popular understandings of the diaspora on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a timeless sorrow, a lingering sense of mourning and loss, that clings to our perceptions of Irish movements to the New World. The very phrase Irish emigration evokes images of poverty and desperation—of suffering masses huddled in the dank holds of coffin ships, fleeing hunger, disease, and economic devastation in the home country. Such impressions emanate from one relatively brief but intensely poignant moment in the history of Irish emigration: the Great Famine and its immediate aftermath. But because of the magnitude of this mid-nineteenth-century trauma, such images linger in the popular consciousness as the essence of the Irish diaspora through time.

These shades and specters haunted the traditional historiography on Irish emigrations. Up to the mid-1980s, the Great Hunger often cast its pall over discussions of other movements of Irish people: vestiges lingered in explanations of later relocations; its shadow also stretched back in time as historians used earlier migrations to set the stage for the famine exodus without considering that previous movements may have had dynamics of their own. When movements in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were mentioned at all, they were usually presented as a prologue to the great Irish emigration drama of the mid-nineteenth century, and images of exile and exclusion pervaded the texts.

This is particularly true of the works of historians of the American Irish, from William Forbes Adams to Kerby Miller, whose writings, until the past decade or so, have tended to dominate the literature on Irish immigration to North America.32 The perspectives they provide of the ghettoization of impoverished and unskilled Irish immigrants in urban landscapes do not supply useful models for understanding the experiences of Irish immigrants on the southern Avalon or in rural areas in general. Indeed, this portrayal of the Irish as predominantly disadvantaged urban dwellers has been roundly challenged by writers such as Donald Akenson, David Doyle, and Cecil Houston and William Smyth, who have effectively demonstrated that most of the Irish in North America ultimately fanned out into rural areas and were employed in primary industries—particularly farming, and, to a lesser extent, fishing or lumbering—with a smaller but still significant number entering skilled trades and professions. Those who lived in cities were not more numerous, they have argued, but merely more noticeable as minorities; and for many who first entered larger ports, life in the city was a temporary existence, the first stage of a series of moves that brought them eventually to the rural sector. This was especially true of pre-famine immigrants: the processes of urbanization, ghettoization, and proletarianization were a later phenomenon in the United States, and that model does not apply at all to Canadian experiences.33


In addition to his urban bias, Miller has also come under fire for his representation of Irish Catholics as a group handicapped by religious and cultural traditions in adapting to their new environments—casualties of modernization who clung to traditional goals and lifestyles and sought self-sufficiency rather than upward mobility. The Irish Protestant immigrant, by contrast, he presents as rational and responsive to changing conditions—a voluntary immigrant, able to embrace ambition and the individualistic and acquisitive values of entrepreneurship. Miller explains the phenomenon in terms of "a distinctive Irish Catholic world view," emanating from Gaelic culture and the Catholic religion, which devalued individual ambition and action, making Catholics less adaptable than Protestants as a group to increasing modernization and commercialization in Ireland and, ultimately, to immigrant experiences in the New World.34 His treatment of the Irish Protestant as a superior immigrant type to the Irish Catholic has been challenged by several scholars who have found the contrast between the two groups largely overdrawn, especially if one moves beyond initial urban experiences and looks at adaptation over time.35 This examination of the southern Avalon Irish will reinforce these findings, portraying a largely Catholic migrant group as responsive to opportunity and often upwardly mobile in their new environment.

Here, it will follow a major paradigm shift in the historiography since the late 1980s—a movement away from discourses of exile and alienation toward a view of Irish emigration as a rational, adaptive strategy employed in response to changing social and economic conditions. Increasingly, writers have presented Irish emigrants as informed individuals who evaluated information and made conscious choices to emigrate from a range of available alternatives—weighing deteriorating conditions in the old country against opportunity in the new and responding to the rises and downturns in employment opportunities in destination areas, based on large-scale, sensitive feedback networks between host economy and home country.36 From this perspective, most pre-famine Irish migration experiences meshed with those of other European nations, where migration became a common adaptive strategy in the modern era as Europeans moved in significant numbers, over short, middle, and long distances, on both temporary and permanent bases, in response to socio-economic factors in their home communities as well as to the demands of an increasingly international economy.37 Irish society was not exceptional, then, in adopting internal and external migration as a "habit of life" by the eighteenth century.38

A warning bell must be sounded, however, about the economic reductionism that often underscores these more recent interpretations of Irish emigration. As Jim Mac Laughlin observes, they tend to portray emigration purely as a "transfer mechanism," whereby emigrants responded to the logic of labor surplus at home and labor demand in overseas markets while muting the negative aspects of the experience—the fragmentation of families and home communities, the re-mapping of social and political terrains. This type of interpretation is an over-correction of the traditional literature, he argues, and overly sanitizes the phenomenon of emigration.39

Furthermore, there has been a continuing reluctance among historians of Irish emigration—particularly quantitative historians, who rose to prominence in the latter part of the twentieth century—to delve too deeply into pre-famine experiences because of the lack of "hard" evidence on population sizes and emigration figures for the period. Even writings that draw more heavily from qualitative sources, or use a combined methodology, rarely reach back further than the 1840s, particularly works dealing with movements beyond the British Isles.40 One important exception is a recent annotated collection of emigrant letters by Miller, Schrier, Boling, and Doyle, which covers the period up to 1815; due to the nature and availability of sources, however, the collection focuses predominantly on Scots-Irish emigrants and overwhelmingly on American experiences.41 Other recent efforts continue to tend towards later movements. For example, one of the most ambitious studies of Irish migration to date—an interdisciplinary compilation of six volumes edited by Patrick O'Sullivan—still focuses primarily on the period from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.42 A more recent collection edited by Andy Bielenberg covers a broader time frame, but the leaning towards later migrations and later source materials is still apparent, while discussions of earlier emigrant groups are often preliminary and tentative.43 There is thus still a need for Irish migration studies that emphasize earlier movements and emigrant agency without underplaying the human costs or reducing the phenomenon to a purely economic response mechanism.

John Mannion's work on the Irish in Newfoundland follows more recent trends in the literature, emphasizing the influx of Irish servants into the Newfoundland fishery as an adaptive response to declining opportunities in the homeland. His writings, however, illustrate a further limitation of the historiography until recent years: a tendency to homogenize Irish emigration in terms of male experiences. As late as 1993, Akenson aptly noted that women in the Irish diaspora were still "the Great Unknown."44


The low visibility of Irish women in emigration studies reflected a deficiency in the broader corpus of Irish historical writings until the past ten to fifteen years. Irish women's history in general had lagged behind its British and North American counterparts, although it has certainly come out of its pioneering stages with a growing body of research of increasing analytical rigor from the 1990s to present day. Still, a search for the female emigrant in much of the secondary literature becomes a frustrating hunt for random pieces of a puzzle that is missing essential interlocking parts. Two decades ago, L. A. Clarkson claimed that Kenneth Connell's mid-century work on rising fertility rates had finally brought Irish women into focus in the emigration saga.45 However, Clarkson's optimism was premature. Once the Irish woman's role as a prodigious breeder of children had been established, she was left to linger on the periphery of migration experiences until recent years.

The search for Irish women emigrants is doubly confounded by a lack of attention to the pre-famine period.46 This trend has already been observed in the general historiography, but it is also true of the writings that deal specifically with Irish female emigration. There are several community or regional histories and family chronicles that span several centuries, but women's lives are generally subsumed in the discussions under the experiences of men or the larger family unit.47 Some other writings on women emigrants deal briefly with the pre-famine period, but they are heavily weighted towards the 1840s and later, and often deal with dysfunctional experiences in urban settings that were not shared by the Irish women who emigrated to rural areas such as the southern Avalon.48 Indeed, while the literature about Irish women emigrants has grown in the 1990s, most offerings have examined movements from the mid-nineteenth century and beyond, when the Great Famine had established a new set of parameters for Irish emigration. This concentration is understandable, for the demographic and economic changes of the famine years and their aftermath had a particular impact on women and wrought a profound change in their status in Ireland.49 But few of these writings provide insight into the motivations and experiences of earlier women emigrants.

In looking for the Irish woman emigrant of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, we find ourselves staring down a historiographical funnel. As we shift our perspective from overseas Irish emigration in general to focus on Irish female emigration experiences in particular, and finally hone in on earlier movements, our viewing screen becomes increasingly constricted. The story of the Irish women who emigrated to North America before the 1840s can only be patched together from pieces and fragments of evidence of an emigration phenomenon that is, in itself, fragmentary in the literature.

Much of the information on women emigrants in this earlier period is statistical: a relentless array of sex ratios, average ages, marital categories, fertility rates, and occupational profiles, drawn from aggregate data for a broad range of destination areas and extended time periods. These have revealed the trend that Irish women, particularly single Irish women, became increasingly prominent in overseas movements through the first half of the nineteenth century, much more so than women of other migrant groups from Western countries.50 Fitzpatrick and Miller explain the predominance of single Irish women in the stream to North America as a rational response to the high demand for domestic servants in destination areas (an observation that is, itself, skewed towards the urban American experience by the aggregate data).51 After parading out some statistical data on women, however, many of these writers allow the female emigrant of the pre-famine period to be eclipsed once again by male experiences.

Perhaps one of the most well-known proponents of quantitative over qualitative approaches in studying Irish migration is Donald Akenson, who has used aggregate data to provide a "yardstick"—based on average sex ratios and age, religious, and occupational profiles—against which Irish migrations to various parts of the English-speaking world can be measured. For the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, he also provides a breakdown of women emigrant "types" based on marital status and number of children. Again, however, his indices are based on data from the post-famine period to Partition. The pre-famine period remains veiled in mystery, he claims, although he does venture some aggregate findings and a periodization of women's migration from 1815 onwards.52


Akenson is trying to provide a tool to gauge the typicality of specific movements against a broad geographical and temporal canvas. Yet the problem in presenting the average as typical is that it overlooks the possibility that this statistical measurement may not reflect the actual experience of many, or even most, of the emigrants involved. In his effort to provide a template for the Irish diaspora worldwide, Akenson tends to blur the nuanced edges of specific migrations, seeming to imply that those experiences that do not fit the mold are irrelevant, or so anomalous as to be unworthy of historical examination other than as a curiosity. More troubling, his analysis leaves us with a series of unrelated, unexplained, and non-contextualized statements that provide little insight into migration experiences as they were actually lived by the people involved.53

Akenson's writings are representative of an increasing focus in the Irish historiography on quantitative analysis in the latter decades of the twentieth century, a shift which has led some critics to bemoan the predominance of cliometricians in the field. Nonetheless, these approaches have been quite useful in banishing stereotypes and blanket assumptions, and other historians have often been pleased to cite their findings (as I have done above), secretly relieved that someone else has performed the task of crunching the numbers. But without context and anecdotal vitality, such analyses remain clinical and bleak; without interpretation, they are unsatisfying. They demonstrate little understanding of emigration as a movement of people, not just economic or demographic variables. And they provide little insight into the multi-layered dynamics of emigration: how gender, ethnicity, and class affected emigration experiences, or how emigration, in turn, affected the negotiation of gender, ethnicity, and class in the New World.

In this study, I use a blending of qualitative and quantitative evidence, which I hope will provide a more comprehensive understanding of women's experiences as they left their Irish homeland and settled on the southern Avalon.


Several sources have enabled me to create a database from which I have extrapolated some basic quantitative information about Irish Newfoundland women: source areas in Ireland, intermarriage and assimilation, the growth of permanent population, the transition to the family production unit in the fishery, and the frequency of women's involvement in court proceedings, petitioning, and inheritance practices. Most helpful in this regard have been the following:

  • a privately held, extensive collection of name files on Irish immigrants to Newfoundland, compiled by geographer John Mannion and his wife Maura from numerous primary sources in various repositories throughout the city of St. John's
  • governors' annual returns on the fisheries and inhabitants of Newfoundland, in the Colonial Office [CO] 194 Series, of which microfilm copies are available at the Provincial Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador (PANL), St. John's, and the Centre for Newfoundland Studies (CNS) at Memorial University
  • a nominal census for Ferryland district for 1799-1800 commissioned by Governor Charles M. Pole (the Pole Papers), housed at the PANL
  • the court records of the southern districts of Ferryland and Trepassey–St. Mary's held at the PANL and the Provincial Reference Library (PRL), St. John's
  • the Registry of Wills held at the PANL, which covers the period from 1824 onward
  • the Mildred Howard Collection, an assemblage of vital statistics from early Newfoundland newspapers
  • Newfoundland parish registers held at the PANL and the offices of the Newfoundland and Labrador Genealogical Society (NLGS)
  • the Ferryland Museum Database (FMDB), a fledgling genealogical database (in progress) at the community museum in Ferryland

However, the collection and presentation of quantitative information has presented some difficulties, and several limitations must be noted. The problems with migration data in Ireland, for example, are echoed and magnified in the Newfoundland context (see Chapter 3). In addition, parish registers for the study area and period (see the bibliography for a complete listing) are not at all comprehensive. They were introduced in particular parishes at different times, with the earliest Catholic records appearing in the 1830s and the earliest Anglican records in the 1820s. Even after introduction, they were piecemeal—with births, marriages, and deaths covering different time spans even within specific parishes. And not all have survived. Nonetheless, a comforting number of earlier vital statistics for the southern Avalon appear in the Mannion Name File Collection—some from various sources in the late eighteenth century and a substantial number from the records for what is now the Basilica parish (Catholic), St. John's, from 1793 onward—and this material has helped to plug holes in my database.

The court records for the southern Avalon also require qualification. First, records for the area are available only from 1773 onward; any references to earlier cases appear only sporadically in governors' correspondence. Second, the court records are themselves incomplete. There are various temporal gaps, and while a system evolved whereby matters were entered under several heads—such as causes, writs, minutes, and judgments—rarely are the full set of records for any given case available (either they have not survived or they were never fully recorded in the first place); thus, one might find the writ and minutes of an action, for example, but not the final judgment, or the judgment may be given without particulars of the case. The minutes themselves are not verbatim court transcripts but summary descriptions (with occasional quotations from the parties involved), and the degree of their thoroughness depended on the ability, energy, and interest of the court clerk on any given day (surprisingly, some of the most detailed minutes were provided for hearings in the eighteenth century). Third, as noted below in the description of the study area, the cases examined here relate almost exclusively to the districts of Ferryland and Trepassey–St. Mary's, with only sporadic items from the area between Bay Bulls and Toad's Cove (now Tors Cove).


Still, the court records provide a broad range of cases to work with, and my database includes more than 500 entries on civil and criminal cases and estate matters involving women in the area. In gauging the significance of the number of cases found, the reader should bear in mind not only the limitations already described but also the fact that the number of adult women in the population of the area for which records have been examined thoroughly was quite small until the last couple of decades of the study period. Only by the 1830s did it exceed 400, as the following table indicates:

Year Adult Women
1775 63
1785 150
1795 310
1805 287
1815 363
1825 307
1836 847
1845 994
1857 1,562

Furthermore, the 1857 figure is inflated by a change in the census age categories from 14+ to 10+; thus, the above table includes as "adults" for that year an additional segment of the population (children from the ages of eleven to thirteen), and one that was not usually before the courts.

Anecdotal evidence in general is more readily available—although sometimes the absence of women in the sources is as eloquent as their presence. I have tapped the oral tradition along the southern Avalon for collective historical memories of women's migration and settlement experiences. This use of oral history is described in greater detail at the end of Chapter 1. Again, the court records for the area provide a rich lode of qualitative evidence on Irish Newfoundland women. Less inclusive but still useful in terms of discerning official attitudes toward the study group is government correspondence for the period. The CO 194 Series encompasses the correspondence of various governors stationed at Newfoundland with the Colonial Office. The PANL also contains the papers of specific governors of the period—John Duckworth and Thomas Cochrane—as well as copies of local incoming and outgoing correspondence of the governor's office as recorded by the local colonial secretary. Catholic clergy in Newfoundland frequently commented on the state of religion and social conditions they found on the island, with occasional references to women included. In this regard, the collection of letters of early bishops and missionaries compiled and edited by Cyril Byrne has been very useful,54 as have the papers of Bishops O Donel, Lambert, Scallon, and Fleming and a notebook penned by Dean Cleary, parish priest of Witless Bay, all housed at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese Archives, St. John's [RCAASJ]. The collection of papers of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts [SPG], available on microfilm at the PANL, helped in tracing the assimilation of the English Protestant population in the study area into the Irish Catholic ethnoreligious group. In addition, the published writings of several nineteenth-century clergymen on the island—such as Michael Howley, Lewis Anspach, and Charles Pedley—lent some insights to the perception of the Irish at Newfoundland.55 Early Newfoundland newspapers housed at the CNS and PANL provided information about the horrors of the passenger trade from Ireland to Newfoundland, a perspective that was balanced by the more mundane descriptions of New Ross merchant Edward Kough in his letterbook, housed at the Maritime History Archives (MHA), Memorial University, and by letters written to the mother convent in Ireland by the first Presentation sisters to come out to Newfoundland, available at the Presentation Convent Archives (PCA) at the Mother House, Cathedral Square, St. John's. A number of other manuscript collections were mined for information on women: the papers of merchant firms Alan Goodridge and Sons (operating out of Renews; surviving ledgers for 1839-41 housed at the PANL and MHA) and Saunders and Sweetman (operating out of Placentia, with dealers in St. Mary's Bay and Trepassey; papers available at the PANL) were helpful in examining women's participation in the exchange economy of the area; and the Carter Family Papers, the Carter-Benger-Nason Papers (including letters written by Harriet Carter at Ferryland to her relatives in England), and the Mary Ann Simms Scrapbook (all available at the PANL) as well as the diary of nineteenth-century magistrate Robert Carter (housed at the PANL and the Ferryland Museum, with a partial typescript version at the MHA) revealed the gradual incursion of middle-class feminine ideals on elite women living in the study area and the sharpening contrast between the lives of these women and those of the Irish plebeian community.

In quoting various primary documents, I have tried to preserve their period ambience without imposing modern-day standards of spelling or grammar. In quotations, original (and sometimes conflicting) spellings, abbreviations, punctuation, and capitalization are maintained as much as possible and without the heavy-handed use of "[sic]." Very occasionally, I have filled in missing letters in square brackets or provided minimal punctuation for the sake of clarity. But for the most part, I have tried not to intrude in the style and cadence of the original.

One final note on sources from the PANL must be made. The PANL has recently transferred its records to a new location and, in the process, has reorganized some of its holdings. As a result, box and file numbers cited in this study, which were those that existed at the time of my research, may vary from new finding aids. The actual names and numbers of the main collections, however, remain the same.

Study Area

The parameters of the study area require some qualification. Although I have defined the southern Avalon as extending along the coastline from Bay Bulls on the Southern Shore to Dog Point in St. Mary's Bay, the reader should be advised that the boundaries of the study area sometimes contract with the accessibility or organizational peculiarities of the sources.


All anecdotal information for the entire area was considered for inclusion in this discussion. Much of the quantitative data—including material on source areas, population growth, intermarriage and assimilation, and the transition to the family production unit—also relate to the entire study area. However, it became necessary to rein in the scope of research in relation to two major sources for my investigation: the court records and the oral tradition. By an organizational quirk of the court system, the portion of the study area from Bay Bulls to Toad's Cove was included within the jurisdiction of the central district of St. John's (although it was, more logically, included in Ferryland district in the electoral divisions that accompanied self-government in the 1830s). The collection of records for the central district court is massive, including as it does the numerous cases and estate matters emanating from the colony's capital. Most of the material is not indexed, and thus wading through it to find sporadic cases from Bay Bulls to Toad's Cove would have been far too time-consuming for the anticipated return and a task not manageable within the scope of the current research. Therefore, only those cases mentioned in governors' correspondence or in the Mannion Name File Collection for that section of the shore have been included in the database for this study (when Mannion provided specific references, the original court records were also checked). The exigencies of time and accessibility also dictated that the oral history component of this project be restricted. I therefore chose to carry out interviews in the same area as that covered by the court records—opting for depth of research rather than breadth (a decision that was reinforced by my stronger contacts on that part of the shore). This makes the coverage of the area from Brigus South to St. Mary's more comprehensive than that of the segment closer to St. John's. I am confident, however, that extended research on the Bay Bulls–Toad's Cove section would reveal more similarities than differences in the experiences of Irish Newfoundland women within the overall study area.

Naming Patterns

Throughout this study, I have followed a pattern of using the first names of southern Avalon women whenever possible. I did this for the pragmatic reason of making women's identities stand out from the jumble of surnames so common in discussions of events and developments involving multiple parties. But I also wanted to respect and celebrate traditional practices of naming women on the southern Avalon—patterns that maintained a strong sense of women's pre-marital identity and individuality (see Chapter 5).



Note 1: HE, interview by author, Ferryland, 20 July 1999. back

Note 2: The Christian belief that Jesus Christ was miraculously conceived in the womb of his mother, Mary, through the power of the Holy Spirit, without sexual intercourse with a man. back

Note 3: See: John Reeves, in History of the Government of the Island of Newfoundland (London: 1793; reprint, Yorkshire: S. R. Publishers, 1967); Daniel W. Prowse, A History of Newfoundland from the English, Colonial and Foreign Records (London: Macmillan, 1895; reprint, Belleville, ON: Mika Studio, 1972); A. H. McLintock, The Establishment of Constitutional Government in Newfoundland, 1783-1832 (London: Longmans, Green, 1941); and Harold A. Innis, The Cod Fisheries: The Study of an International Economy, rev. ed. (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1954). back

Note 4: See: Keith Matthews, "A History of the West of England–Newfoundland Fishery" (D.Phil. diss., Oxford University, 1968); C. Grant Head, Eighteenth Century Newfoundland (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, in association with the Institute of Canadian Studies, Carleton University, 1976); Shannon Ryan, "Fishery to Colony: A Newfoundland Watershed, 1793-1815," Acadiensis 12:2 (Spring 1983): 34-52. back

Note 5: See: Matthews, "West of England–Newfoundland Fishery" and Lectures on the History of Newfoundland, 1500-1830 (St. John's: Breakwater Books, 1988); Thomas F. Nemec, "The Irish Emigration to Newfoundland," Newfoundland Quarterly 69:1 (1972): 15-24; Nemec, "Trepassey, 1505-1840 A.D.: The Emergence of an Anglo-Irish Newfoundland Outport," Newfoundland Quarterly 69:4 (1973): 17-28; Nemec, "Irish Settlement in Newfoundland," in Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador, ed. Joseph R. Smallwood, vol. 3 (St. John's: Harry Cuff Publishers, 1991), 71-7; Nemec, "Trepassey, 1840-1900: An Ethnohistorical Reconstruction of an Anglo-Irish Outport Society," in Through a Mirror Dimly: Essays on Newfoundland Society and Culture, ed. Maura Hanrahan (St. John's: Breakwater, 1993), 145-62; John Mannion, "Irish Imprints on the Landscape of Eastern Canada in the Nineteenth Century: A Study in Cultural Transfer and Adaptation" (Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto, 1971); Mannion, Irish Settlements in Eastern Canada: A Study of Cultural Transfer and Adaptation (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974); Mannion, "The Impact of Newfoundland on Waterford and its Hinterland in the Eighteenth Century" (paper presented at the Annual Conference of Irish Geographers, University College, Galway, 22 April 1977); Mannion, "Introduction," in The Peopling of Newfoundland: Essays in Historical Geography, ed. John J. Mannion, Social and Economic Papers, no. 8 (St. John's: Institute of Social and Economic Research [ISER], Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1977), 1-13; Mannion, "Patrick Morris and Newfoundland Irish Immigration," in Talamh An Eisc: Canadian and Irish Essays, ed. Cyril J. Byrne and Margaret Harry (Halifax: Nimbus Publishing, 1986), 180-202; Mannion, "Migration and Upward Mobility: The Meagher Family in Ireland and Newfoundland, 1780-1830," Irish Economic and Social History 15 (1988): 54-70; Mannion, "Tracing the Irish: A Geographical Guide," The Newfoundland Ancestor 9:1 (Spring 1993): 4-18; and John Mannion and Fidelma Maddock, "Old World Antecedents, New World Applications: Inistioge Immigrants in Newfoundland," in Kilkenny: History and Society–Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County, ed. William Nolan and Kevin Whelan (Dublin: Geography Publications, 1990), 345-404. back

Note 6: Topsy is a young female slave in Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. When quizzed about her parentage and where she has come from, Topsy has no knowledge of her background, but ventures an opinion nonetheless: "I spect I grow'd. Don't think nobody never made me." See Joan D. Hedrick, The Oxford Harriet Beecher Stowe Reader (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 256. back

Note 7: Ellen Antler, "Women's Work in Newfoundland Fishing Families," Atlantis 2:2 (1977): 106-13; Hilda Chaulk Murray, More Than Fifty Percent: Women's Life in a Newfoundland Outport, 1900-1950 (St. John's: Breakwater Books, 1979); and Marilyn Porter, "She was Skipper of the Shore Crew: Notes on the History of the Sexual Division of Labour in Newfoundland," Labour/Le Travail 15 (Spring 1985): 104-25. back

Note 8: Using the formula 2F + C (where F = the number of adult women in the over-wintering population, multiplied by 2 to allow for a male partner, and C = the number of children), Handcock found significant population growth through the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as the numbers of women in the population increased, although the significance of this phenomenon was muted in the remainder of his discussion. See W. Gordon Handcock, Soe longe as there comes noe women: Origins of English Settlement in Newfoundland (St. John's: Breakwater Books, 1989). back

Note 9: Handcock, Soe longe, 140-41. back

Note 10: Peter Pope combined traditional historical sources with archeological evidence in his innovative study "The South Avalon Planters, 1630-1700" (Ph.D. diss., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1992); quotation from 307. His observation applies more to elite women than plebeian women, although he does not differentiate between them here; even so, the process was not "inevitable" for either group of women. back

Note 11: Sean Cadigan, Hope and Deception in Conception Bay: Merchant-Settler Relations in Newfoundland, 1785-1855 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1995). back

Note 12: Summarizing Handcock's findings in relation to English settlement at Newfoundland, Cadigan concluded: "A process of transatlantic family migration in fact established the patriarchal family structure of West Country English society in Newfoundland in the early modern period." See Cadigan, Hope and Deception, 65. back

Note 13: Cadigan, Hope and Deception, 64-82; quotation from 82. Such conclusions regarding family power relations do not emerge from the southern Avalon data. However, Cadigan's study area contained a different ethnic mix of English and Irish from mine, and there was greater economic diversification in Conception Bay, with the development of the North Shore, Labrador, and seal fisheries, and various related trades. It is possible that these contrasting circumstances resulted in different gender relations within fishing households in the two areas—a possibility that I am exploring in my current research. back

Note 14: See: Linda Cullum and Maeve Baird, "'A Woman's Lot': Women and Law in Newfoundland from Early Settlement to the Twentieth Century," in Pursuing Equality: Historical Perspectives on Women in Newfoundland and Labrador, ed. Linda Kealey, Social and Economic Papers no. 20 (St. John's: ISER, 1993), 66-162; and Trudi D. Johnson, "Matrimonial Property Law in Newfoundland to the End of the Nineteenth Century" (Ph.D. diss., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1998). back

Note 15: This lack is discussed in "Editors' Note: Women, the Migratory Fishery and Settlement," in Their Lives and Times: Women in Newfoundland and Labrador: A Collage, ed. Carmelita McGrath, Barbara Neis, and Marilyn Porter (St. John's: Killick Press, 1995), 22-26. back

Note 16: I confess my unfamiliarity with the Francophone literature on this period. back

Note 17: The confederation of Canada took place in 1867, when Canada West (Ontario), Canada East (Quebec), Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick tentatively joined forces (with little in common, some have argued, but debt and the fear of American expansionism). By 1905, all remaining provinces and territories had been brought into the union with the exception of Newfoundland, which entered the confederation in 1949. back

Note 18: See, for example, Franca Iacovetta, "Making New Canadians: Social Workers, Women and the Reshaping of Immigrant Families," in Gender Conflicts: New Essays in Women's History, ed. Franca Iacovetta and Mariana Valverde (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992), 261-303; Varpu Lindstrom, Defiant Sisters: A Social History of Finnish Immigrant Women in Canada, 2nd ed. (Toronto: Multicultural History Society of Ontario, 1992); Ruth A. Frager, Sweatshop Strife: Class, Ethnicity, and Gender in the Jewish Labour Movement in Toronto, 1900-1939 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992); Agnes Callista, "Canada's Immigration Policy and Domestics from the Caribbean: The Second Domestic Scheme," in Race, Class, Gender: Bonds and Barriers, ed. Jesse Vorst, et al. (Toronto: Between the Lines, in cooperation with the Society for Socialist Studies, 1989), 133-65; Calliste, "Race, Gender and Canadian Immigration Policy: Blacks from the Caribbean, 1900-1932," in Gender and History in Canada, ed. Joy Parr and Mark Rosenfeld (Toronto: Copp Clark, 1996), 70-87; and Francis Swyripa, Wedded to the Cause: Ukrainian-Canadian Women and Ethnic Identity, 1891-1991 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993). back

Note 19: One early exception was Sylvia Van Kirk's examination of the impact of the arrival of white women on fur trade society: the increasing denigration of marriages a la façon du pays and social stratification of the community, as trading company, church, and white women asserted the cultural "superiority" of wives of European descent over aboriginal wives who had contributed so effectively—through their experience, their work, and their contacts—to the fur trade. See Van Kirk, "The Impact of White Women on Fur Trade Society," in The Neglected Majority: Essays in Canadian Women's History, Volume 2, ed. Alison Prentice and Susan Mann Trofimenkoff (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985), 27-48; first published as "Women and the Fur Trade," The Beaver (Winter 1972): 4-21. back

Note 20: The American literature is discussed extensively in my doctoral thesis, "The Slender Thread: Irish Women on the Southern Avalon" (Ph.D. diss., Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2001). back

Note 21: Beth Light and Alison Prentice, eds., Pioneer and Gentlewomen of British North America 1713-1867, Documents in Canadian Women's History, vol. 1 (Toronto: New Hogtown Press, 1980). back

Note 22: Constance Backhouse, Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in Nineteenth-Century Canada (Toronto: Osgoode Society, 1991). back

Note 23: Cecilia Morgan: Public Men and Virtuous Women: The Gendered Languages of Religion and Politics in Upper Canada, 1791-1850 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996); and "'When Bad Men Conspire, Good Men Must Unite!': Gender and Political Discourses in Upper Canada, 1820s-1830s," in Gendered Pasts: Historical Essays in Femininity and Masculinity in Canada, ed. Kathryn McPherson, Cecilia Morgan, and Nancy M. Forestell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), 12-28. back

Note 24: Elizabeth Jane Errington, Wives and Mothers, Schoolmistresses and Scullery Maids: Working Women in Upper Canada, 1790-1840 (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995). back

Note 25: Jennifer Henderson, Settler Feminism and Race Making in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003). back

Note 26: See Margaret Conrad: "Recording Angels: The Private Chronicles of Women from the Maritime Provinces of Canada, 1750-1950," in The Neglected Majority: Essays in Canadian Women's History, ed. Susan Mann Trofimenkoff and Alison Prentice (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977), 41-60; Recording Angels: The Private Chronicles of Women from the Maritime Provinces of Canada, 1750-1950 (Ottawa: Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, 1982); and "'Sundays Always Make Me Think of Home': Time and Place in Canadian Women's History," in Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women's History, ed. Veronica Strong-Boag and Anita Clair Fellman (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1986), 67-95. See also Conrad's collaborative effort with Toni Laidlow and Donna Smyth, No Place Like Home: Diaries and Letters of Nova Scotia Women, 1771-1938 (Halifax: Formac Publishing, 1988). back

Note 27: See the following offerings in Margaret Conrad, ed., Intimate Relations: Family and Community in Planter Nova Scotia, 1759-1800, Planter Studies Series, no. 3 (Fredericton: Acadiensis, 1995): Kenneth Paulson, "Land, Family, and Inheritance in Lunenburg Township, Nova Scotia: 1760-1800," 110-21; Elizabeth Mancke, "At the Counter of the General Store: Women and the Economy in Eighteenth-Century Horton, Nova Scotia," 167-81; and Judith A. Norton, "The Dark Side of Planter Life: Reported Cases of Domestic Violence," 182-89. back

Note 28: Rusty Bittermann, "Women and the Escheat Movement: The Politics of Everyday Life on Prince Edward Island," and Gail G. Campbell, "Disenfranchised but not Quiescent: Women Petitioners in New Brunswick in the Mid-19th Century," in Separate Spheres: Women's Worlds in the 19th-Century Maritimes, ed. Janet Guildford and Suzanne Morton (Fredericton: Acadiensis Press, 1994), 23-38 and 39-66, respectively. back

Note 29: See, for example: Donald Fyson, "Criminal Justice, Civil Society, and the Local State: The Justices of the Peace in the District of Montreal, 1764-1830" (Ph.D. diss., Université de Montréal, 1995); Kathryn Harvey, "Amazons and Victims: Resisting Wife-Abuse in Working-class Montreal, 1869-1879," Journal of the Canadian Historical Association 2 (1991): 131-48; Mary Ann Poutanen, "Reflections of Montreal Prostitution in the Records of the Lower Courts, 1810-1842," in Class, Gender and the Law in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Quebec: Sources and Perspectives, ed. Donald Fyson, Colin Coates, and Kathryn Harvey (Montreal: Montreal History Group, 1993), 99-125; and Poutanen, "The Homeless, the Whore, the Drunkard, and the Disorderly: Contours of Female Vagrancy in the Montreal Courts, 1810-1842," in Gendered Pasts, ed. McPherson et al., 29-47. back

Note 30: Adele Perry has studied assisted immigration of white women to British Columbia as an effort to "civilize" the white male homosocial culture of the region and discourage mixed-race marriages; the combined impact of a skewed gender ratio and colonial race politics resulted in enhanced heterosocial contact but restricted socio-economic opportunity for these women. See Perry, "'Oh I'm Just Sick of the Faces of Men': Gender Imbalance, Race, Sexuality, and Sociability in Nineteenth-Century British Columbia," BC Studies 105 and 106 (Spring/Summer 1995): 27-43; and Perry, On the Edge of Empire: Gender, Race, and the Making of British Columbia, 1849-1871 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001). Sarah Brooks Sundberg has argued that the substantial contributions of prairie farm women as homemakers, home manufacturers, field hands, wage earners, and teachers was understated by the persistent image of "helpmates" in emigrant promotional literature in the late nineteenth century. See Sundberg, "Farm Women on the Canadian Prairie Frontier: The Helpmate Image," in Rethinking Canada, ed. Strong-Boag and Fellman, 95-106. back

Note 31: Although Ireland experienced a number of local crop failures and some widespread famines in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the famine that is the focus of much of the historical literature on Irish emigration in that period is the Great Famine, which occurred in the late 1840s through the early 1850s. The term famine in this discussion refers to that mid-century disaster, unless the context specifically indicates otherwise. back

Note 32: See, for example, William Forbes Adams, Ireland and Irish Emigration to the New World from 1815 to the Famine (1932; reprint, New York: Russell and Russell, 1967); Oscar Handlin, Boston's Immigrants (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1941); William V. Shannon, The American Irish (New York: Macmillan, 1963); Lawrence J. McCaffrey, The Irish Diaspora in America (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1976); Kerby A. Miller, "Emigrants and Exiles: Irish Cultures and Irish Emigration to North America, 1790-1922," Irish Historical Studies 22:86 (September 1980): 97-125; Miller, Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985); and Miller, "Emigration, Capitalism, and Ideology in Post-Famine Ireland," in Migrations: The Irish at Home and Abroad, ed. Richard Kearney (Dublin: Wolfhound Press, 1990), 91-108. back

Note 33: See Donald H. Akenson: Being Had: Historians, Evidence, and the Irish in North America (Don Mills, ON: P. D. Meany Publishers, 1985), 40-42, 69-72, and 84-85; and Small Differences: Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, 1815-1922: An International Perspective (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988), 102-3. See also Cecil J. Houston and William J. Smyth: Irish Emigration and Canadian Settlement: Patterns, Links, and Settlers (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990), 21; and "The Irish Diaspora: Emigration to the New World, 1720-1920," in An Historical Geography of Ireland, ed. B. J. Graham and L. J. Proudfoot (London: Academic Press Limited, 1993), 338-65, particularly 353. See also David Doyle, "The Irish in North America, 1776-1845," in A New History of Ireland, ed. W. E. Vaughan, vol. 5 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989), 706. back

Note 34: Miller, "Emigrants and Exiles: Irish Emigration," and Emigrants and Exiles: Irish Exodus. Other historians of the American Irish have also sharply differentiated between Irish Protestant and Irish Catholic adaptation in America. See: Shannon, American Irish; Marjorie Fallows, Irish Americans: Identity and Assimilation (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1979), 144-3; and Thomas O'Connor, The Boston Irish: A Political History (Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1995), 19-22. back

Note 35: See Donald Akenson: Being Had; Small Differences; "The Historiography of the Irish in the United States of America," in The Irish in New Communities, ed. Patrick O'Sullivan, Irish World Wide Series, vol. 2 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1992), 99-127; and The Irish Diaspora: A Primer (Toronto: P. D. Meaney, 1993). Akenson by-passed U.S. data in this analysis, as the religion of immigrants was not systematically recorded in America. See also: Bruce S. Elliott, Irish Migrants in the Canadas: A New Approach (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1988); and David Doyle, "The Irish in Australia and the United States: Some Comparisons, 1800-1939," Irish Economic and Social History 16 (1989): 73-94, particularly 92-3. back

Note 36: See: Akenson, Being Had, Small Differences, and "Historiography of the Irish"; Doyle, "Irish in North America"; David Fitzpatrick, "Emigration, 1801-70," in New History, ed. Vaughan, 562-622; Patrick Blessing, "Irish Emigration to the United States, 1800-1920: An Overview," in The Irish in America: Emigration, Assimilation and Impact, ed. P. J. Drudy, Irish Studies 4 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 11-37; Liam Kennedy and Leslie A. Clarkson, "Birth, Death and Exile: Irish Population History, 1700-1921," in Historical Geography, ed. Graham and Proudfoot, 158-84; and Houston and Smyth, "Irish Diaspora" and Irish Emigration and Canadian Settlement. back

Note 37: See: Dudley Baines, Emigration from Europe, 1815-1930, Economic History Society Studies in Economic History (Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 1991); and James H. Jackson, Jr. and Leslie Page Moch, "Migration and Social History of Modern Europe," in Time, Family and Community: Perspectives on Family and Community History, ed. Michael Drake (Oxford: Open University, in association with Blackwell Publishers, 1994), 181-98. back

Note 38: Fitzpatrick, "Emigration, 1801-70," 564. See also David Fitzpatrick, "The Modernisation of the Irish Female," in Rural Ireland: Modernisation v. Change, 1600-1900, ed. Patrick O'Flanagan, Paul Ferguson, and Kevin Whelan (Cork: Cork University Press, 1987), 162-80, particularly 175. back

Note 39: Jim Mac Laughlin: Historical and Recent Irish Emigration: A Critique of Core-Periphery and Behavioural Models (London: University of North London Press, 1994), 9-11 and 45-46; and "Emigration and the Construction of Nationalist Hegemony in Ireland: The Historical Background to 'New Wave' Irish Emigration," in Location and Dislocation in Contemporary Irish Society: Emigration and Irish Identities, ed. Jim Mac Laughlin (Cork: Cork University Press, 1997), 5-35. back

Note 40: Still, some studies of migrations to North America have attempted to deal with earlier periods. Doyle, Fitzpatrick, and Miller have included brief discussions of earlier migrations in works already cited; Audrey Lockhart looks at earlier migrations to America and Newfoundland (although she tends to treat Newfoundland primarily as a stepping-stone to America, and uncritically accepts contemporary reports that Irish migrants to the island were vagrants and the refuse from Irish jails who had been pressed into service in Irish ports). See Lockhart, Some Aspects of Emigration from Ireland to the North American Colonies Between 1660 and 1775, The Irish-Americans Series (New York: Arno Press, 1976). Graeme Kirkham provides a brief overview of emigration from Ulster in the first half of the eighteenth century in "The Origins of Mass Emigration from Ireland," in Migrations, ed. Kearney, 81-90; Marianne S. Wokeck includes a chapter on eighteenth-century Irish immigration to the Delaware Valley in Trade in Strangers: The Beginnings of Mass Migration to North America (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999), 167-219. Miller has looked at the evolution of Scotch-Irish ethnicity in America in "'Scotch-Irish' Myths and 'Irish' Identities in Eighteenth-and Nineteenth-Century America," in New Perspectives on the Irish Diaspora, ed. Charles Fanning (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000), 75-92; and Edward O'Day provides an analysis of naturalization records in the northeastern states in the pre-famine period in "The 'Second Colonization of New England' Revisited: Irish Immigration Before the Famine," in New Perspectives, ed. Fanning, 93-114.

There is certainly a growing body of literature on Irish migrants to Britain in the pre-famine period, particularly seasonal laborers in agriculture and semi-skilled, unskilled, and casual workers in the textile, construction, and transportation industries. Again, there is a concentration on processes of urban ghettoization and proletarianization as seasonal movements gave way to permanent immigration—dynamics that contrast with the experiences of the Irish on the southern Avalon in the same period. See, for example: B. Collins, "Irish Emigration to Dundee and Paisley During the First Half of the Nineteenth Century," in Irish Population, Economy and Society: Essays in Honour of the late K. H. Connell, ed. J. M. Goldstrum and L. A. Clarkson (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), 195-212; Collins, "The Irish in Britain, 1780-1921," in Historical Geography, ed. Graham and Proudfoot, 366-98; Roger Swift and Sheridan Gilley, eds., The Irish in the Victorian City (London: Croom Helm, 1985); Swift and Gilley, eds., The Irish in Britain, 1815-1939 (London: Pinter Publishers, 1989); Swift and Gilley, eds., The Irish in Victorian Britain: The Local Dimension (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1999); Ruth-Ann Harris, The Nearest Place That Wasn't Ireland: Early Nineteenth-Century Irish Labor Migration (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1994); Jeffrey G. Williamson, "The Impact of the Irish on British Labor Markets During the Industrial Revolution," Journal of Economic History 46, no. 3 (September 1986): 693-720; Graham Davis, The Irish in Britain, 1815-1914 (Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1991); Anne O'Dowd, Spalpeens and Tattie Hokers: History and Folklore of the Irish Migratory Agricultural Worker in Ireland and Britain (Blackrock: Irish Academic Press, 1991); Donald M. MacRaild, Irish Migrants in Modern Britain, 1750-1922 (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999); and various contributions in Irish Women and Irish Migration, ed. Patrick O'Sullivan, vol. 4, Irish World Wide Series (London: Leicester University Press, 1995). A recent offering by Donald M. MacRaild examines the similar types of "frontiers"—economic, social, political, psychological—that had to be negotiated by Irish immigrants to Britain and America in the nineteenth century, but again, the concentration is on urban experiences from the 1840s and beyond. See MacRaild, "Crossing Migrant Frontiers: Comparative Reflections on Irish Migrants in Britain and the United States during the Nineteenth Century," Immigrants and Minorities 18:2 and 3 (July/November 1999): 40-70. back

Note 41: Kerby A. Miller, Arnold Schrier, Bruce D. Boling, and David Doyle, Irish Immigrants in the Land of Canaan: Letters and Memoirs from Colonial and Revolutionary America, 1675-1815 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). back

Note 42: This series explores a variety of themes, as encapsulated in the titles of the various volumes. See Patrick O'Sullivan, ed., Patterns of Migration, vol. 1 (1992), The Irish in the New Communities, vol. 2 (1992), The Creative Migrant, vol. 3 (1994), Irish Women and Irish Migration, vol. 4 (1995), Religion and Identity, vol. 5 (1996), The Meaning of the Famine, vol. 6 (1997), Irish World Wide Series (Leicester and London: Leicester University Press, 1992-97). There are several studies in the collection that extend back into earlier time periods, but they deal with specialized groups such as indentured servants, religious personnel, and soldiers abroad. back

Note 43: See Andy Bielenberg, ed., The Irish Diaspora (Harlow: Pearson Education, 2000). Some contributions that do discuss earlier movements to varying degrees include: Graham Davis, "The Irish in Britain, 1815-1939," 19-36; Donald Akenson, "Irish Migration to North America, 1800-1920," 111-38; Kerby Miller, "'Scotch-Irish', 'Black Irish' and 'Real Irish': Emigrants and Identities in the Old South," 139-57; Ruth-Ann M. Harris, "Searching for Missing Friends in the Boston Pilot Newspaper, 1831-1863," 158-75; and Bielenberg, "Irish Emigration to The British Empire, 1700-1914," 215-34. back

Note 44: Akenson, Primer. The quotation comes from the title of chap.7: "Women and the Irish Diaspora: The Great Unknown." back

Note 45: L. A. Clarkson, "Love, Labour and Life: Women in Carrick-on-Suir in the Late Eighteenth Century," Irish Economic and Social History 20 (1993): 18-34, particularly 19. The reference to Connell's work relates to Kenneth H. Connell, The Population of Ireland, 1750-1845 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1950). back

Note 46: There are exceptions, such as Jerrold Casway's "Irish Women Overseas, 1500-1800," in Women in Early Modern Ireland, ed. Margaret MacCurtain and Mary O'Dowd (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991), 112-32. His work concentrates on female indentured servants in America and the Caribbean, and harks back to the earlier "emigrant-as-exile" genre. back

Note 47: The most gender-inclusive of these is Malcolm Campbell's The Kingdom of the Ryans: The Irish in Southwest New South Wales, 1816-1890 (Sydney: University of New South Wales Press, 1997). This study is still male-centered, focusing as it does "on two generations of the Ryan family, father, and son, whose leadership of the Irish community played a vital role in shaping its composition, identity, and relationship with Australian society" (11). But Campbell does provide a discussion of the centrality of the Irish family in terms of economic production and cultural continuity, the importance of women in establishing and maintaining stable family life, and the impact of middle-class constructions of femininity and masculinity on rural Irish communities in Australia (chap. 5). Other, less inclusive sagas include: Elliott, Irish in the Canadas; Wokeck, Trade in Strangers; Akenson, The Irish in Ontario: A Study in Rural History, 2nd ed. (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999); and Ronald Hoffman, Princes of Ireland, Planters of Maryland: A Carroll Saga, 1500-1782, collaborated with Sally D. Mason (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000). back

Note 48: For an overview, see Ann Rossiter, "In Search of Mary's Past: Placing Nineteenth Century Irish Immigrant Women in British Feminist History," in Women, Migration and Empire, ed. Joan Grant (Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books, 1996), 1-29. back

Note 49: Dierdre Mageean, for example, examines women's emigration from Munster in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and provides a very enlightening discussion of the changes in women's lives before and after the mid-nineteenth century; but it is aimed at understanding the motivations of women who left home during the Great Famine and thereafter. See Mageean, "To Be Matched or to Move: Irish Women's Prospects in Munster," in Peasant Maids—City Women: From the European Countryside to Urban America, ed. Christiane Harzig (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997), 57-97. Other writings that deal with women's declining status and emigration from the famine onwards include: Robert E. Kennedy, Jr., The Irish: Emigration, Marriage and Fertility (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973); Hasia R. Diner, Erin's Daughters in America: Irish Immigrant Women in the Nineteenth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983); Fitzpatrick, "Modernisation"; Janet Nolan, "The Great Famine and Women's Emigration from Ireland," in The Hungry Stream: Essays on Emigration and Famine, ed. E. Margaret Crawford (Belfast: Centre for Emigration Studies, Ulster-American Folk Park, and Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University, 1997), 61-70; and Janet A. Nolan, Ourselves Alone: Women's Emigration from Ireland, 1885-1920 (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1989). Miller, Doyle, and Patricia Kelleher cover the nineteenth century in "'For love and liberty': Irish Women, Migration and Domesticity in Ireland and America, 1815-1920," in Irish Women and Migration, ed. O'Sullivan, 41-65. Their discussion is still focused on the famine and beyond, but they briefly touch upon some push factors of female emigration in the pre-famine period, primarily revolving around illiteracy and social and economic subordination. However, their conclusions on Irish women's lowly status before the famine appear to stem from middle-class understandings of femininity and are, therefore, unconvincing; they also run contrary to the other literature noted above. There are various other writings that deal primarily with Irish women emigrants from the mid-nineteenth century and beyond, including: Ida O'Carroll, Models for Movers: Irish Women's Emigration to America (Dublin: Attic Press, 1990); Sheelagh Conway, The Faraway Hills are Green: Voices of Irish Women in Canada (Toronto: Women's Press, 1992); Grace Neville, "'She Never Then After That Forgot Him': Irish Women and Emigration to the United States in Irish Folklore," Mid-America: An Historical Review 74:3 (1992): 271-89; Maureen Murphy, "Charlotte Grace O'Brien and the Mission of Our Lady of the Rosary for the Protection of Irish Immigrant Girls," Mid-America: An Historical Review 74:3 (1992): 253-70; Breda Gray, "'The Home of Our Mothers and Our Birthright for Ages'? Nation, Diaspora and Irish Women," in New Frontiers in Women's Studies: Knowledge, Identity and Nationalism, ed. Mary Maynard and June Purvis (London: Taylor and Francis, 1996), 164-86; Tracy M. English, "Big Wages, Glorious Climate and Situations Guaranteed: A Study of the Migration of Irish Women to Great Britain for the Period 1861 to 1911" (master's thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1999); Enda Delaney, "Gender and 20th-Century Irish migration, 1921-1971," in Women, Gender and Labour Migration: Historical and Global Perspectives, ed. Pamela Sharpe (London: Routledge, 2001), 209-23; and Bronwen Walter, Outsiders Inside: Whiteness, Place, and Irish Women (London: Routledge, 2001). Suellen Hoy's study period straddles the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but she is looking at a very specific occupational group, in "The Journey Out: The Recruitment and Emigration of Irish Religious Women to the United States, 1812-1914," The Journal of Women's History 6/7, no. 1 (1994-95): 64-98. back

Note 50: See: Adams, Irish Emigration, 223; Akenson, Primer, 166; Fitzpatrick, "Emigration, 1801-70," 573-4; Joel Mokyr, Why Ireland Starved: A Quantitative and Analytical History of the Irish Economy, 1800-1850 (London: George Allen and Unwin, 1983), 247; and Mokyr and Cormac O Grada, "Emigration and Poverty in Prefamine Ireland," Explorations in Economic History 19, no. 4 (October 1982): 360-84, particularly 367. back

Note 51: See: Fitzpatrick, "Emigration, 1801-70," 574; and Miller, Emigration and Exile: Irish Exodus, 200. back

Note 52: Akenson, Primer, particularly chap. 7. back

Note 53: Akenson's study of the Irish in Ontario is an exception, although it focuses primarily on men's experiences. See Akenson, The Irish in Ontario: A Study in Rural History, 2nd ed. (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1999). back

Note 54: Cyril J. Byrne, ed., Gentlemen-Bishops and Faction Fighters: The Letters of Bishops O Donel, Lambert, Scallan and Other Irish Missionaries (St. John's: Jesperson Press, 1984). back

Note 55: See: Rev. Lewis A. Anspach, A History of the Island of Newfoundland (London: Anspach, 1819); Rev. Charles Pedley, The History of Newfoundland (London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts and Green, 1863); and Rev. Michael F. Howley, Ecclesiastical History of Newfoundland (Boston: Doyle and Whittle, 1888; reprint, Belleville, ON: Mika, 1971). back